Думаю, это неплохое определение, поскольку оно абсолютно точно и ровным счетом ничего не объясняет


In terms of history St.Petersburg is a comparatively young city though it will celebrate its tercentenary in 2003. However, during this rather short period the city has witnessed many important events. The name of the city has been changed three times. When the city was founded in 1703, it was named St.Petersburg in honour of St.Peter, a disciple of Jesus Christ. In 1914, when Russia was at war with Germany, the city`s name was changed to Petrograd because it sounded Russia. In January 1924 the city was named Leningrad to commemorate V.I.Lenin. In September, 1991 the city got its historic name St.Petersburg again.
Beside three official names the city has got a great many unofficial ones. It was called Paradise, Petropolis, Rome of the North, Venice of the North & some others. All these names reflect majestic architecture of St.Petersburg, & many imposing buildings & monuments have become emblems of the city.
Every city has its emblems & symbols. The word "symbol" is of Greec origin; it is a special sign representing a perticular thing or idea. There are three main symbols of St.Petersburg: the coat of arms, the flag & the anthem.
The coat of arms is the main symbol of any town or city. It shows a special status of the town. You see it on flags, coins & official seals; well-to-do townsfolk put it on the facades of their homes. In Russia this tradition dates back to the 17th century, & by the end of the 19th century there had been 700 towns which had their own coat of arms.
The first coat of arms of St.Petersburg was instituted in 1729. It represented a red shield bearing a sea anchor & a river anchor crossed, combined with a gold sceptre. Above the sceptre there were the National Emblem & the crown.
That coat of arms was officially bestowed on the city in 1780 & had been in use in all city transactions till 1857, when a new design was accepted: above the red shield bearing two crossed anchors was a crown decorated with azure ribbons, & two crossed sceptres were placed behind the shield. The present coat of arms resembles the first one, only the crown was removed.
You may find the coat of arms of St.Petersburg on the facades of some buildings. It decorates the entrance to the Admiral Nakhimov Naval School. It also decorates the railings of the Liteiny Bridge.
Two other symbols of the city are the flag & the anthem. The flag of St.Petersburg is a rectangular red cloth with a pattern of two crossed silver anchors combined with a gold sceptre. The flag of the city dates from 1860, & till 1917 there used to be a crown above the sceptre.
The music of the present anthem was composed by Reinhold Glier. Actually, it is a part of the ballet The Bronze Horseman.


St.Petersburg is a fascinating city, it attracts people from all over the world, & every one who comes to the city has some ready image of it. St.Petersburg is a city of magnificent buildings & imposing monuments, many of which have become its emblems. However, whenever we think of St.Petersburg, we first think of the Admiralty, the Bronze Horseman & the Peter & Paul Fortress. They are rightly called the main emblems of the city.


The construction of the Admiralty shipyard started in 1704 to a draft project of Peter I. It was a complex of buildings that served at the same time as a fortress. Already at that time there were a library & a museum. Peter was very proud of the first 50-gun warship Poltava built there in 1712. First the Admiralty was built in wood; the main entrance to the complex was decorated with a spire. In 1718, when the Admiralty Collegium was housed in the building, the main entrance was reconstructed. A wooden tower with a high spire was erected, topped by an apple & a crowned frigate.
In the years 1733-1738 the Admiralty was rebuilt in stone. The work was cimmissioned to the architect Ivan Korobov. A new tower appeared over the main entrance, made entirely of brick. In accordance with the architectural tradition of Peter`s time the architect added a high spire to the tower, making the total height of the building 72 metres. The spire & the vessel on top of it were gilded.
In 1810 the Admiralty was rebuilt again to the design of Andreyan Zakharov who created a harmonious composition of long facades, monumental pavilions with arches over the canals that led then into the Admiralty & a splendid tower in the centre. Zakharov skilfully arranged porticoes along the facades, added many reliefs & statues which allude to Russia`s greatness, prosperity & naval might. The tower was also altered, but the spire topped by a sailing vessel remained unchanged.
The vessel on the golden spire of the Admiralty is visible from afar. It is always there, high up in the sky, its sails full of wind. Even during the war, camouflaged with tarpaulin, the vessel guarded the city & helped Leningraders to hold out.


The monument to Peter the Great in Senate Square was unveiled on August 7, 1782. As guns fired a salute, the scaffolding screening the monument collapsed & a rider on a rearing horse with a serpent under its hind legs came into view. Alexander Pushkin in his famous poem named the monument "the Bronze Horseman", & the name has been assigned to it since then.
The monument was erected to the order of Catherine П. Its author, the French sculptor Etienne Falconet, portrayed Peter the Great as a statesman & reformer. Breaking with the existing tradition, he created a very dynamic & unusual monument. Instead of royal robes, the rider wears a loose cape, & in place of a saddle he has the skin of an animal, true to ancient custom. Falconet wrote in his diary, "My monument will be simple... I want to make a statue of a hero, & I am not going to portray him as a great military commander & conqueror, although he was both, of course. The personality of the creator, the lawmaker is much higher...".
The sculptor worked on the monument for twelve years. He made sketches of a horse & a rider over & over again. A cavalry general resembling Peter the Great in statue & height sat as a model for the figure. Falconet s young assistant Marie-Anne Collot moulded the head. The likeness to Peter is remarkable, & the head is one of the best features of the monument.
It took four years to make a plaster model of the monument. When it was being cast, a fire broke out in the workshop. General panic started, & only one worker did not lose his head. Risking his life & getting badly burnt he put out the fire & completed pouring the bronze. The name of that brave man was Khailov. Falconet said of him, "We owe the success of the casting to his courage."
The rock or the pedestal was found near the city. The local people called it "a thunder rock" because it had been spilt by a lightning. The rock was 13 metres long, about 7 metres wide & 8 metres high. It weighed about sixteen hundred tons. Transporting the rock took about two years. A special medal was made in memory of that heroic endeavour.
The pedestal was constructed & the statue mounted under the supervision of Yuri Velten. The statue is balanced on three supports, The hind legs of the horse & a snake.
The Bronze Horseman is, probably, the most exxpressive monument in the city. Placed in a spacious square surrounded by stately buildings, it symbolizes the might of young Russia, its daring spirit, will & inspiration.
The Bronze Horseman has never left its pedestal. During the war it was covered with bags of sand to protecft it from shelling.
The Bronze Horseman has long become one of the most famous emblems of the city.


The faundation of the Peter & Paul Fortress took place on May 16 (27 New Style), 1703. On June 29 the same year the construction of a church was started. The church was consecrated to the SS Peter & Paul. In 1712 the imperial court moved to St.Petersburg & the next year the Senate followed. The city became the capital. At that time the construction of the cathedral & the bell tower began to the design of the architect Domenico Trezzini. The spire of the cathedral could be seen from a great distance, both from the road leading to the new Russian capital & from the Gulf of Finland. To this day the cathedral remains the second highest architectural construction in St.Petersburg (the television tower measures 316 metres). It is 122 metres high & crowned with a weather vane shaped like an angel carrying a cross. The angel looks tiny from below, but actually it is quite large, measuring 3,2 metres high with a wingspan of 3,8 metres.
The first angel was made to the design of Trezzini, but in 1756 the fire burnt it. The second angel was an exact replica of the first one, & it was destroyed by a hurricane. Then it was decided to change the shape of the angel, to make it smaller & better balanced. The author of the new project was the architect Antonio Rinaldi. The third angel soared to the sky in 1778. Some forty years later the angel was badly damaged by a storm. It was repaired by Pyotr Telushkin, who managed to climb up to the top of the spire using only a rope & no scaffolding. Much later, in 1941, a group of mountain climbers led by Olga Firsova performed the same feat when it was necessary to camouflage the spire.


Most cities grow slowly, their exact origin are lost in unrecorded history. But it is not the case with St.Petersburg. We know exactly the day of its foundation, May 16, 1703, as well as the name of its founder Peter I.
The founding of St.Petersburg by Peter the Great was a major event in the historical transformation of medieval Rus` into a great European power.
St.Petersburg was founded by one man with a mission. With him a new period in Russia history began, known as the St.Petersburg Era, or the Imperial Age. This glorious period of St.Petersburg, its monuments, bridges, parks & gardens.
From the very outset St.Petersburg was constructed to a plan. Peter wanted to make his new capital a European city with straight streets & stone buildings. Unlike Moscow with its narrow & crooked streets St.Petersburg is regular & orderly, & probably this regularity adds to the city`s graceful appearance.


Catherine П assumed the throne in 1762 after the abdication of her husband, Peter Ш. The German born princess took to Russia quite easily. She adopted Orthodoxy & learned the Russian language. Contemporaries describe Catherine П as an intelligent & talanted woman, cultivated & energetic. She was quite well read & corresponded with Diderot, Voltaire & d`Alembert. However, an avid personal interest in Enlightenment ideas found little reflection in the way she ruled Russia. She believed in autocracy in public administration. Under her rule Russia experienced a "golden age of the nobility" when the aristocracy was permitted to forgo State service & concentrate on their own personal affairs.
Under Catherine the Great the Russian Empire expanded into the Crimea. Russia grew into the great European power Peter the Great had envisioned one hundred years before.
Along with political progress Catherine the Great`s time was marked by an enlivening of social life. St.Petersburg was becoming the centre of education & culture. To provide education for people of all ranks, various educational establishments were started. During her reign the Smolny Institute for daughters of the gentry was founded. The Mining College, gymnasiums & military schools were open for boys from upper classes. For children from lower classes municipally funded primary schools were set up in all parts of the city.
Care of the poor, sick & invalid was also paid due attention to. Hospices for poor widows appeared, & the Obukhovskaya Hospital was open for patients with chronic diseases. A special Medical Board was instituted for inspection of hospitals & general practise. Since then a license had been needed to start medical practiсe.
At that time a number of improvements in municipal services were made. Illumination of the city had been improved greatly. New lamp posts were put up & there were as many as 2,256 street lamps in 1770. The lamps were serviced by an army of lamplighters, who were public servants with a salary of 18 roubles a year & allowance for food & clothing. Fire brigades were organized in every part of the city, & police stations as well.
The brilliant age of Catherine П was marked by splendid festivals & celebrations. Glorious victories of the Russian arms were celebrated on a grand scale. There were parades & fireworks, merry-making with food & drinks for common people & gala dinners for nobility.
The theatre became a popular entertainment at Catherine`s time. The Empress herself wrote short plays & took part injj staging them. The performances were given in the Hermitage Theatre. Соllecting works of the art was also in fashion. Following the Empress` example many people decorated their homes with fine paintings & sculpture, hadgood home libraries. The Russian Academy of Arts was erected during her reign.
Thus, ideas of education & culture propagated by Peter 1, by the end of the eighteenth century had penetrated life of society.


The story of the Hermitage collection begins with Catherine П. Soon after assuming the throne she started collectings works of art. She made her first acquisition in 1764-225 Dutch & Flemish paintings were bought from the Berlin merchant Gotzkowsky. That was only the begining. Catherine wanted to build up a large & good collection, & in a short time.
Russian ambassadors in Europe were given the extra task of taking part in art auctions & buying as much as possible. Catherine also received assistance from some of her famous foreign correspondents, including Diderot & Voltaire. Whole collections were purchased, including not only painting, but sketched, carvings, ofjects of applied arts, medals & books (includings Voltaire`s library).
Initially many works of arts adorned the interiors of the Winter Palace, but, as the collection grew rapidly, the second building (Small Hermitage) was built in 1775, & the third soon followed in 1787 (The Old Hermitage).
After Catherine`s death, enlarging of the collection continued, though not at such a fast pace. In 1814 Alexander 1 bought the private collection of Napoleon`s wife Josephine, which included 118 paintings.
After the 1917 Revolution the collections expanded considerably when the museum absorbed paintings from nationalized private collections along with the finest items from the imperial palaces at Peterhof & Gatchina.
The largest museum collection in the world is spread throughout four buildings, & each of them is an architectural gem both inside & outside, with regal facades, opulent staircases, frescoes, gold, statues & fascinating painting. The art collection covers the period from pre-history to the 20th century.


The history of Russia is full of dreadful & bloody events. Few Russian tsars died a natural death; the end of most of them was violent & tragic. Hovewer, the cold-blooded murder of Alexander П stands out for its cruelty.
In 1879 the underground revolutionary group People`s Will was set up. The members of the group set a goal to kill the Tsar. In two years they made six unsuccessful attempts, the most well-known of which is the one made by Karakosov who shot at the Tsar at the gates of the Summer Garden. It was a miracle Alexander had not been killed. But members of the group were persistent & eventually attained their goal.
It happened on March 1, 1881, the first Sunday of the Lent. The Tsar was visiting the riding hall in Koniushennaya Square. His rout back to the Winter Palace was well known to everyone in the capital. The Emperor could go along either Malaya Sadovaya Street or the Catherine Canal embankment. Terrorists set to work. A bomb was put in the underground passage in Malaya Sadovaya Street; & along the embankment about two dozens of terrorists were lined up. Alexander chose the rout along the embankment. When the coach was approaching Koniushenny Bridge, the first bomb was tossed. The coach was badly damaged & three people injured. The Tsar remained safe. He got out of the coach & went along the road to another carriage. At that moment a second bomb was tossed at his feet, & he was mortally wounded. The Tsar was immediately taken to the Winter Palace where several hours later he passed away.
The evil deed astounded everyone in the capital. The whole city was seized with terror & grief. The next day the town councillor applied to Alexander Ш for his assent to built a church on the site of the assassination.
Newspapers announced a competition for the best project of a memorial church. The winner was Alfred Parland who, in collaboration with Archimandrite Ignatius, modelled the church after St.Basil`s in Moscow. The construction took twenty-four years & was completed in 1907. New materials & most progressive methods of construction were employed. It was in this church that a concerete substructure was laid for the first time in St.Petersburg. The church was fitted out with steam heating & electricity. It was quite a modern structure. Till our days the church looks as the most exotic structure in St.Petersburg.
The decor of the church is striking. The window casings inlaid with icons & glazed tiles, brightly coloured tiles & gold of the cupolas look flamboyant among the serene St.Petersburg buildings. The interior of the church was very beautiful. The walls, columns & vaults were covered with mosaics; & the best Russian artists made cartoons for the icons.
The project cost five million roubles, & of these about six thousand roubles were donated by the towns-people.
The cathedral was consecrated in the name of the Resurrection of Christ, but it commonly known as the Church of the Saviour on the Spilled Blood.
Till 1930 services were held in the cathedral. After the Great Patriotic War of 1941-45 the Maly Opera Theatre used it for storing props. In 1970, after many debates, it was assigned to the St.Isaac Cathedral State Museum. The museum was opened there in 1997. A lengthy restoration returned to the church its original splendour.



St.Petersburg attracts tourists in every season. There are so many different things to do & places to visit in St.Petersburg. Here are only a few.


You can have a wonderful tour around the historical centre & see world-famous architectural ensembles of Palace Square, Senate Square, the Spirit of Vasilyevsky Island, the Peter & Paul Fortress. In the fortress you can see the burial places of all Russian emperors & empresses, the Mint, the secret prison of the Tsar Government & visit the place where the first Russian revolutionaries, the five leaders of Decembrists` Revolt were executed. At midday you may hear a gun fired from the Naryshkin Bastion, a tradition existing since Peter`s time. You can take a boat trip on the Neva to Elaguin Island, famous for its park, or to the Smolny Convent. You may also have a boat trip along smaller rivers & canals & admire majestic architecture of St.Petersburg.